Okay, so it’s not just a new subscription (or, more accurately, a return to a subscription) that has helped me to write again. Lots of things have contributed, including a change in career & working hours, which has given me enough “head space” to read more. I took the decision to take another look at an old favourite, Mslexia magazine.
I’m glad I did; a brand new design with exciting content to match, writing prompts, opportunities and inspiring interviews. I had previously fell out of love with Mslexia because it had become a bit too feminist-socialist for my liking*.
So the new-look magazine has all sorts of writing prompts, both narrative fiction & non-fiction, flash fiction, poetry and more. One section of poetry was about formal verse, in particular, canzone, villanelle and sestina forms.
I love villanelle poems. I love the form and how so many poets have used them wittily to get their point across, or simply to entertain. (Link: an old post on villanelle poems)
A sestina poem was discussed in the magazine, and used as a writing prompt. The ever elusive “Regeneration” poem I have never seemed to fully perfect came running into my mind. So yet another re-write, or more accurately, a reworking of my original poem began:
These buildings were beautiful once
Still are, in a way
Lost in regenerative ideals
Apathy and contempt,
left to rot and decay
Facades crumble with decay –
bricks and mortar once
steadfast, sniffed at with contempt
permissive planning ideals
left alone, forgotten
as Progress tried to carve its way
History and sentiment stand in the way
And gradings only help to further decay
these heartlands of deprivation, driving contempt
for districts once
grand and well-heeled. Ideals
of modernity packing old memories into forgotten
dusty boxes in rooms in forgotten
annals of office or apartment blocks that once
were a decay
in the mouth of a city already treated with contempt
as The Armpit of The North, a dirty hole to be hidden away
after decades of pursuing different ideals
too radical for the politicians, whose unforgotten ideals
once tough as iron now burn with the contempt of the The New Way
Regeneration is over; dig out the decay, plaster the cavity in paint
It’s still a bit clunky in parts, and I will work on that, but I think sestina poems might be my new poetry-crush!
*Now don’t read this wrong. I am a woman. I do not believe that I can only be “completed’ by a man (and yes, I am heterosexual), but neither do I buy into the opposite, the, “we must do everything by ourselves, forget men – in fact hate them all” Germaine Grier kind of feminism that has plagued women’s rights and women’s issues for decades.
I am a woman who believes that I can do anything through God who created me, and by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
I also believe that we can all be feminists. Male and female. It’s a matter of perspective. That is what Mslexia has done so well in their re-design. They’ve shifted perspective – they are still feminists, but less “we hate men” and more “we can do this – who’s with us ladies!!”